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Poole council "used spying powers once in past year"
OVER the last 12 months Borough of Poole has used its spying powers once, in connection with unauthorised shellfish dredging.
Following the scandal over its use of RIPA powers, councillors are now regularly updated on the use of undercover surveillance, which has to go before a magistrate for consent.
Poole recently obtained its first authorisation under the new process, which also has to be sought for communications data.
The council has also recently undergone a two yearly inspection from the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner, who reviewed the way the council uses its powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
“Use of surveillance by the council has now dropped to a very low level,” said Tim Martin, head of legal and democratic services in his report to councillors. “It is still occasionally necessary to obtain authorisation for surveillance to be undertaken in connection with the investigation of criminal offences.
He said court approval “is intended to give the public additional confidence that surveillance is being used appropriately through the means of judicial oversight.”
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